The best way to understand how a functional area works is to understand what makes it different from the rest of the organization. In this video, learn where business development fits in the organization.
- Lots of people use business development interchangeably with sales. This is most often the case when selling is consultative, meaning that the salesperson has to spend a lot of time customizing the pitch, and maybe even the product bundle. After all, business development is about undefined and new growth opportunities. And isn't every meeting with a new customer actually about an undefined opportunity? Here's the difference between sales and business development. Even if there is some consultation, the scope of the salesperson's role stays constant.
The products and services she can offer are fixed and the compensation plan is predefined. For example, the salesperson at Nordstrom will start any meeting by asking you what you're looking for and what your goals are. Do you have a budget? Do you have a special occasion? Are you trying to match something in your existing wardrobe, and so on? But the salesperson is limited by the clothing Nordstrom carries, and only sells to consumers, and their bonus and commission plan is defined.
You might be looking at doing pop-up prom shops at high schools, or carrying uniform-compliant items for a hotel chain, or adding nail salons within the department store walls. All of these things would be beyond the scope of a salesperson. And while business development folks sometimes get a bonus, they're generally not on commissions or quotas. What about marketing versus business development? After all, marketers tend to be strategic and future focused. But marketing is about understanding the markets, communicating that information to the rest of the organization, and then understanding the corporate strategy and communicating it out to prospects.
Everything done in marketing is designed to be scalable and consistent. Business development goes beyond mass personalization, it's actually about a personal relationship. The third big group that is often confused with business development is strategic planning. This is the group in organizations that is thinking about the future of the organization and developing the financial plan for entry into new markets and products. But while strategic planning focuses on financial questions, business development needs to deal with the messiness of how the business might be implemented and who, outside of the organization, would need to be involved.
Business development faces countless unexpected challenges and opportunities, often relating to the unique specific situation of any company they might reach out to. Business development is the missing link between discovering that big idea and making it part of business as usual.
Business development teams identify areas of opportunity: new products, new markets, new partnerships, and new distribution channels. It's critical to start with clear objectives. Are you using business development (BD) as a marketing tool, a sales channel, a source of innovation, or a corporate development hub? Management consultant Robbie Kellman Baxter shows you how the best BD professionals identify and build momentum for new initiatives. She also gives you the insight you need to launch a BD function in your organization, explains how to manage a BD team, and shares how to scale the BD function as your opportunities grow.
- Define business development.
- Explain the purpose of business development.
- Distinguish business development from other functions.
- Identify the skills and personality requirements for a business development role.
- Measure business development performance.
- List options for organizing a business development team.
- Describe how to make business development relevant at the C-level.